Poverty rates have skyrocketed to 9.2% in the world as more than 719 million people live on a daily income of less than $2.15. Lack of education, healthcare, economic opportunities, political instability, and discrimination are some factors that contribute to poverty. In a world full of issues like these, there are some people and organizations that stand out as the real heroes. These heroes are known as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and serve as a beacon of hope for people in need. There is also a day celebrated as World NGO Day on the 27th of February that is dedicated to the people behind these organizations.
What makes NGOs so special? What is their approach to global concerns? Which are the top NGOs in the world? You will get answers to all those questions in this article.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are a crucial component in attempts to solve global issues. These organizations work without the aid of governments to improve the world. They are motivated by a passion for good change.
Not all NGOs work for the betterment of the society. Some scam others as well which makes it crucial for one to understand which NGOs to trust. After reading this article, you will understand what defines excellence in NGOs and why it is pivotal to set certain criteria for their evaluation. The article will provide a list of top NGOs in the world, their selection criteria, challenges, and emerging trends.
What Are the Specific Criteria for Evaluating NGOs?
The selection criteria for evaluating NGOs is based on the three main pillars.
Transparency is the most crucial factor in the selection of the best NGOs. It includes a dedication to transparency in an NGO’s operations. This includes the requirement for groups to declare their funding sources, spending plans, and budgets. Programmatic transparency is crucial as NGOs provide specifics about their initiatives, goals, and results. It provides one with a clear understanding of how an NGO uses its resources and what is their progress. It also promotes trust among all parties that are involved, including donors, beneficiaries, and the public.
The impact of an NGO plays a vital role in its credibility. NGOs are assessed based on the noticeable and long-lasting changes they bring about in the communities and regions they aid. Investigators carefully analyze the results of an NGO project as proof of transformative results. Impact measurement goes beyond numbers; it examines the improvement of beneficiaries’ socioeconomic status, education, and quality of life. A leading NGO must have a distinct, measurable, and positive influence on the issues it addresses.
Accountability goes hand in hand with transparency and impact. NGOs must be held accountable for their actions, choices, and resource allocation. Accountability entails upholding moral principles and legal requirements while making sure that an organization’s objectives line up with its mission and values. Additionally, it includes the effective administration of resources, in which money is spent wisely to optimize its effects. In addition to promoting donor confidence, a commitment to accountability helps NGOs to continuously enhance and adapt their methods for greater effectiveness.
These three are the main factors that influence the eligibility and credibility of an NGO.
Also read: What Is the Motive of China Behind Its Interest in Taiwan?
The Top 21 NGOs in the World
Here is the list of the top 21 NGOs in the world that keep up with these factors:
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Open Society Foundation
- Oxfam International
- Save the Children
- The Wikimedia Foundation
- Acumen fund
- The Danish Refugee Council
- Mercy Corps
- Cure Violence Global
- No Kid Hungry
- CARE International
- Heifer International
- International Rescue Committee
- Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)
Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) is the largest and most influential NGO in the world. Established in 1972, BRAC has grown into a mega organization with 107,259 employees. Its annual income is about US$ 1.08 billion. BRAC has a mission to create a world free from discrimination and exploitation where everyone can realize their potential. Its mission is to eradicate poverty, illiteracy, social injustice, and diseases.
BRAC is working in 6 different countries where children can access various learning opportunities. It has established more than 35,000 learning centers, more than 50,000 trained teachers, and has reached 1 million learners through its education program.
BRAC has 50,000 community health workers who inform people about vaccinations and point people in the direction of vaccination clinics, along with offering essential medical services. 700 of their employees also actively assist the government in providing vaccinations. BRAC’s community health workers are essential in easing people’s concerns regarding immunizations, especially among rural women. They represent a critical infrastructure that isn’t present in the most developed nations on the same scale.
Every year, more than 80% of Bangladesh’s population is affected by floods, earthquakes, droughts, and more than 70% by cyclones. Disasters are a major threat to achieving sustainable development goals. BRAC responds within 72 hours whenever a disaster strikes in the country.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is a French name that translates as “Doctors Without Borders” It is a well-known international humanitarian organization with the noble goal of providing medical care and aid to those impacted by crises, irrespective of race, religion, or political affiliation. MSF was established on December 22, 1971, by a group of French physicians and journalists. It is now one of the most renowned and significant NGOs in the world. MSF operates in more than 70 countries and responds to a variety of crises, such as armed conflicts, natural disasters, epidemics, and urgent medical situations. They perform their jobs in some of the world’s most complex and hazardous conditions. Its major areas of welfare work include:
MSF provides medical aid to people impacted by armed conflict, epidemics, natural catastrophes, or lack of access to healthcare. It has more than 10,000 medical specialists, logisticians, and support workers. Working in more than 70 countries, MSF has admitted approximately 1.2 million patients and given 16.3 million outpatient consultations.
In case of emergencies, MSF provides people with access to medicines and helps them in climatic emergencies, epidemics and pandemics, and natural disasters. It has also helped people from various countries get refuge from wars. Some of the major projects in this case include Refugees in Bosnia, Malawi Prisons of Chichiri and Maula, and the Gaza protest
Temoignage, a French word that translates as bearing witness, is an act of raising awareness on either public or private platforms about what is going on in the world. MSF is known to speak publicly about the forgotten crisis, denounce abuses, challenge the distraction from evil doings, or criticize policies that restrict access to medical care.
3. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is an American private non-profit foundation that was established in the year 2000 by Bill Gates and his wife Melinda French Gates. According to reports, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided 1960 grants. It has $7 Billion in charitable support, 41 program strategies, and 1818 employees.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Division seeks to eliminate health disparities by creating innovative tools and strategies to lessen the burden of infectious diseases and the main causes of infant mortality in underdeveloped countries.
The organization’s Global Growth & Opportunity Division promotes equitable and sustainable economic growth by developing and scaling market-based solutions.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Gender Equality Division strives to guarantee that women and girls in South Asia and Africa may lead their societies, enjoy good health, and make their own decisions. The foundation works on issues related to global development, such as access to clean water and sanitation, gender equality, and the empowerment of women and girls.
4. Open Society Foundations
The Open Society Foundations (OSF) is one of the largest private funders in the world that works to promote justice, democratic rule, and human rights. George Soros is the founder of the OSF. He started his journey of philanthropic work in 1979 by providing scholarships for East European dissidents to study in the West and for Black African university students in South Africa. Now, this foundation operates in over 120 countries.
The Open Society Foundation (OSF) recognizes that climate change is not only an environmental crisis but also a deeply intertwined issue of social justice. As part of their commitment to advancing open societies and addressing global challenges, OSF has been actively engaged in promoting climate justice, ensuring that the burdens and benefits of climate action are equally distributed across societies.
OSF operates to fight disinformation, supports media organizations that hold the powerful accountable and promotes free and independent media. The foundation provides funding to organizations and projects that support and defend the rights of marginalized and vulnerable groups, including migrants and refugees.
OSF strives to improve access to justice, lower rates of mass incarceration, and aid in reforms to the criminal justice system. The foundation promotes civic involvement, fights authoritarianism, and works to develop democratic institutions and practices.
5. Oxfam International
Established in 1995, Oxfam International has now become one of the major NGOs in the world. It is a group of independent non-profit organizations from all over the world that collaborate to address some of the most important issues affecting humanity today. It has a presence in more than 90 countries. Its major areas of focus include ending poverty, emergency response, and gender justice, and women’s rights.
Oxfam is a global movement of people working together to end the injustice of poverty. It delivers development initiatives, public education, campaigns, advocacy, and humanitarian assistance in catastrophes and conflicts using a blend of realistic approaches and creativity.
Oxfam frequently responds to over 30 emergencies at all times helping people who need it. It provides clean water, food, sanitation, and safety to individuals caught up in disasters and wars all over the world.
Women face discrimination and inequality every day, in every nation on earth. They are denied opportunities to learn, earn, and lead and are subjected to violence, abuse, and unfair treatment at home, work, and in their larger communities. Oxfam believes that women taking control and taking collective action are the most important drivers of sustained improvements in women’s rights, and are a powerful force to end poverty not only for women and girls but for others too.
6. Save the Children
Established in 1919, Save the Children stands as one of the leading non-governmental organizations in the world trying to improve children’s lives everywhere throughout the world. They collected donations for the children of Gaza as well. According to their reports, about 783 million people around the world don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The NGO has continuously fought for the rights and welfare of children for more than a century.
Save the Children’s numerous projects and activities demonstrate their dedication to taking action. The organization helps millions of children and families annually and is available in more than 120 countries. Its proactive initiatives go beyond providing short-term help, with an emphasis on bringing about long-term change via economic growth, healthcare, and education. To assist children in escaping the cycle of poverty, Save the Children works to ensure that they have access to high-quality education even in areas of crisis.
The killing and maiming of children, coupled with attacks on schools and hospitals, constitutes a grave violation, and those responsible must be held accountable for their actions. Save the Children is helping the children of Gaza with aid and shelter.
7. The Wikimedia Foundation
Since its establishment in 2003, the Wikimedia Foundation has significantly advanced open access to knowledge worldwide. The organization, which is the home of the well-known Wikipedia, has dedicated its life to democratizing knowledge. Wikipedia is a priceless resource with millions of entries and more than 280 language editions.
The foundation has always supported the ideas of free knowledge and encouraged cooperation amongst various contributors. They have also started initiatives to fill in content gaps by emphasizing underrepresented areas and subjects.
One of their notable achievements is the Wikipedia Education Program, which has engaged with thousands of instructors and students worldwide, promoting digital literacy and critical thinking skills. The Wikimedia Foundation’s dedication to open knowledge and its extensive effects on worldwide information access, research, and education are proof of its lasting legacy and influence.
8. Acumen Fund
Established in 2001, Acumen Fund is a pioneering non-profit venture capital fund that has made a lasting impression on the world of impact industry. With a mission to alleviate poverty and inspire social change, Acumen has been at the forefront of creative solutions that tackle major global issues. By applying a strict investment model, Acumen finds and supports promising social enterprises in areas where poverty is widespread. These investments include healthcare, education, energy, and agriculture. By actively participating in these sectors, Acumen empowers businesses that produce significant social impact in addition to financial returns.
Acumen Fund has played a significant role in encouraging social entrepreneurship and developing cutting-edge funding approaches. Their efforts have been a major factor in enacting systemic change and guaranteeing that underprivileged groups have access to opportunities and necessary services.
9. The Danish Refugee Council
Since its founding in 1956, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has been a global leader in supplying vital humanitarian aid to refugees and internally displaced persons. In its long history, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has significantly addressed the needs of some of the most vulnerable populations on Earth.
DRC offers a wide range of initiatives that include emergency response, livelihoods, education, shelter, and protection, all of which demonstrate their commitment to displaced communities. They have actively participated in long-lasting conflicts and crisis areas, providing both short-term relief and long-term remedies.
The DRC has played a significant role in helping to address the worldwide refugee crisis in recent years. They have been on the ground, giving millions of displaced people food, shelter, and support. Refugees and internally displaced people have always had their rights and dignity upheld by the Danish Refugee Council. They strive to promote long-lasting solutions and deal with the underlying causes of displacement.
Established in 1980, Ashoka is an NGO that has played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of social entrepreneurship and effecting change. It is an international organization that finds and helps people who are becoming “Ashoka Fellows” and who are bringing about revolutionary change in their local communities and the wider globe.
Ashoka’s distinctive strategy consists of locating and funding people who have creative, long-term answers to urgent societal problems. The organization gives these changemakers access to a global network of like-minded people and organizations, financial resources, and mentorship by choosing and assisting Ashoka Fellows.
One of Ashoka’s noteworthy accomplishments is its contribution to the global network of people committed to bringing about positive change and to the popularization of the idea of social entrepreneurship. The organization has been instrumental in advancing social innovation and providing backing for endeavors that drive systemic change.
11. Mercy Corps
Founded in 1979, Mercy Corps is a leading international humanitarian organization that works in some of the most difficult and crisis-affected areas on earth. Throughout its many years of operation, Mercy Corps has been instrumental in delivering vital support and encouraging long-lasting, constructive change.
The group works in a variety of fields, such as environmental sustainability, disaster response, economic development, and conflict resolution. Mercy Corps is renowned for its dedication to strengthening community resilience and tackling the underlying causes of crises.
Their creative approach to peacebuilding and conflict resolution is one of their major achievements. In conflict-affected communities, Mercy Corps is well known for its attempts to promote social cohesiveness, ease tension, and encourage conversation.
12. Cure Violence Global
Founded in 2000, Cure Violence Global (CVG) is an evolving organization that works at the intersection of violence prevention and public health. Their unique strategy, known as the “Cure Violence Model,” views violence as a contagious illness and uses strategies to stop it from spreading.
The CVG model finds and helps those who are most likely to use violence, giving them the tools, resources, and chances to change their ways of living. Through tackling the underlying causes of violence and utilizing skilled “Violence Interrupters,” CVG has played a significant role in reducing violence in very violent neighborhoods.
The model’s ability to reduce gunshots and homicides in numerous American and foreign communities is one of its most notable accomplishments. The organization’s efforts have been acknowledged for their capacity to end the cycle of retaliation and for their creative, evidence-based approach to decreasing violence.
13. No Kid Hungry
Established in 2010, No Kid Hungry is a well-known nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger in the US. The NGO has made great progress toward guaranteeing that all kids have access to wholesome meals through creative partnerships and programs.
The ability of No Kid Hungry to provide kids with the nourishment they need is one of its greatest achievements. For millions of kids around the world, the organization has successfully increased access to school breakfasts, summer meal programs, and after-school meals. These programs not only reduce hunger but also improve the general well-being and academic achievement of kids.
The internet tools and awareness initiatives of No Kid Hungry have contributed to the increase of money and knowledge around childhood hunger. To raise money and support their cause, they have partnered with businesses, individuals, and the culinary industry.
14. CARE International
Global humanitarian organization CARE International was founded in 1945 and has been a strong supporter of social justice, gender equality, and the elimination of poverty. CARE has accomplished a great deal in the areas of sustainable development and humanitarian response over the years.
The significant effort that CARE has made to empower women and girls is one of its major accomplishments. They have continuously promoted gender equality and carried out initiatives that allow women access to leadership, economic independence, and education.
CARE International is renowned for its ability to respond to humanitarian emergencies successfully. Following natural catastrophes, they have been on the ground, offering affected populations immediate help such as food, clean water, and shelter.
Founded in 1997, APOPO is a special non-profit organization that uses the amazing sense of smell of African giant pouched rats to solve humanitarian issues and save lives. Their creative approach to problem-solving has produced outstanding outcomes.
Using “HeroRATs” to find landmines and tuberculosis is one of APOPO’s most well-known achievements. In nations like as Cambodia and Mozambique, these proficient rats have effectively removed landmines, restoring safety to previously dangerous areas for local populations. Furthermore, APOPO’s rats have contributed to the early identification and treatment of tuberculosis cases, saving lives through quick and affordable diagnostics.
16. Heifer International
Heifer International is a well-known nonprofit organization that was founded in 1944 and is committed to using community-based, sustainable solutions to alleviate hunger and poverty worldwide. They have made tremendous progress in empowering communities and advancing sustainable agriculture.
Heifer International’s ground-breaking “Passing on the Gift” model is one of its greatest accomplishments. This strategy involves providing families and communities with livestock and training to improve their nutrition and income. Recipients are encouraged to give their animals’ offspring to less fortunate people in exchange. Millions of families have seen a change in their lives and an increase in their level of independence thanks to this sustainable approach.
Beyond just raising livestock, Heifer International is dedicated to sustainability; its programs also include agroforestry, empowering women, and environmental conservation. Their all-encompassing strategy takes into account both short-term requirements and long-term growth.
Landesa was established in 1967 to ensure land rights for the world’s poorest people. With the help of land rights and land-related policy efforts, their work has produced notable improvements to rural communities’ standard of living and general well-being.
The effect Landesa has had on the security of land tenure is among its most noteworthy achievements.
They have played a significant role in promoting and carrying out land reforms that grant underprivileged populations, particularly those in rural areas, legal land rights. They have aided many households in ending the cycle of poverty and gaining access to resources by securing land tenure, which has raised agricultural output and promoted economic stability.
One of Landesa’s many achievements is that it has addressed gender differences in land rights. In recognition of the vital role women play in agriculture and food security, they have fought for women’s land rights.
18. International Rescue Committee
Established in 1933, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a globally recognized humanitarian organization that has reliably addressed emergencies and furnished essential assistance and reinforcement to the world’s most susceptible communities. IRC’s work in humanitarian response, conflict resolution, and resettlement has resulted in significant progress.
IRC’s ability to respond to humanitarian situations is among its most remarkable accomplishments. They have taken the lead in providing those impacted by conflicts, natural disasters, and other emergencies with life-saving aid, such as clean water, shelter, healthcare, and education. Their prompt and efficient reactions have prevented many deaths and reduced suffering in some of the most difficult situations.
Another significant achievement is IRC’s dedication to peacebuilding and conflict resolution. In conflict-affected communities, they have been essential in creating societal cohesion, encouraging discourse, and lowering levels of violence.
Established in 1989, Ceres is a non-profit organization that has become well-known for its attempts to solve issues related to climate change and sustainability in the corporate sector. They have achieved a great deal via their efforts in supporting environmentally and socially responsible company strategies and advancing sustainable business practices.
A major accomplishment of Ceres is its influence on business sustainability policies and procedures. To encourage ethical business, investment, and policymaking practices, they have interacted with corporations, investors, and legislators. Driven by its advocacy for sustainable supply chains, transparency, and lower carbon emissions, Ceres has played a key role in advancing corporate sustainability strategies. Ceres also advocates for policies in addition to developing disclosure standards for sustainability reporting.
20. Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)
Founded in 2002, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) is a top-tier international health organization that has significantly aided in increasing access to necessary medical services and prescription drugs, especially in areas with low resources.
The influence CHAI had on international efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria is among its top achievements. They have made an effort to improve access to preventative, diagnostic, and life-saving treatments.
The commitment of CHAI to improving healthcare systems is another big achievement. They have cooperated with local groups and governments to improve supply chain management and infrastructure for healthcare.
Their work also includes non-communicable diseases, financing for healthcare, and maternal and child health. Millions of individuals have benefited from improved healthcare outcomes and policy changes as a result of their creative initiatives.
Established in 1977, PATH is a multinational nonprofit organization that has led the way in tackling pressing health issues and developing cutting-edge medical solutions. They have achieved great success in their efforts to advance healthcare technologies and enhance global health outcomes.
PATH’s significant accomplishment is its contribution to the worldwide development and distribution of vaccines. They have been essential in the development of vaccinations against pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. Millions of lives have been spared by vaccines developed as a result of PATH’s research, lobbying, and collaboration initiatives. Another remarkable accomplishment is PATH’s dedication to innovation. They have promoted the creation and application of novel medical technology, diagnostic instruments, and methodologies to enhance healthcare delivery in environments with limited resources.
What are the Challenges Faced by NGOs?
NGOs play a pivotal role in dealing with urgent global concerns and humanitarian causes. However, they frequently face a great deal of difficulties and barriers on their way to bringing about positive change. The main challenges faced by NGOs include:
- Lack of funds
- Public trust
- Political and Regulatory Challenges
- Security Risks
- Global Issues
1) Lack of funds
Lack of funding is arguably the biggest challenge faced by non-profit organizations. Numerous NGOs are dependent on donations, grants, and philanthropic funding, which leaves them open to changes in the economy and donor preferences. NGOs frequently look for new funding sources and diversify their revenue sources due to the tough competition for a few resources. This ongoing financial problem emphasizes the critical requirement for reliable and continuous funding to ensure that NGOs can accomplish their fundamental goal of improving the world.
2) Public Trust
An NGO must win people’s trust. Negative public views, misunderstandings, or scandals can damage an organization’s reputation and make it more difficult for it to get support. To gain and keep the public’s trust, NGOs must continually show accountability, openness, and ethical conduct.
3) Political and Regulatory Challenges
NGOs operating in some areas could encounter political opposition or legal limitations. Their activities may be restricted, their assets may be frozen, or they may even be expelled from the nation if governments perceive them as threats or agents of foreign influence.
4) Security Risks
NGOs frequently work in unstable circumstances, such as war zones and disaster-affected regions. This puts their employees and volunteers at risk for violent crime, kidnappings, and disease outbreaks. Personnel safety is of the utmost importance.
5) Complexity of Global Issues
Complex global problems including poverty, climate change, and healthcare disparities necessitate varied solutions and sustained effort. NGOs frequently struggle to strike a balance between urgent humanitarian operations and long-term, transformative solutions.
How Can I Get Involved With NGOs?
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are essential to solving global problems and improving the lives of vulnerable communities. There are several ways you can get involved and have a real impact if you want to support these groups and help bring about change:
1. Volunteering Opportunities
NGOs frequently depend on volunteers to support the execution of their initiatives and activities. Your time and talents can be a meaningful contribution, whether you have particular skills, such as medical knowledge, teaching experience, or project management skills, or simply have a willingness to contribute. Many NGOs provide local and worldwide volunteer opportunities. You can join authentic NGOs and offer your help to the community.
2. Donations and Fundraising
NGOs require financial support to carry out their work efficiently. One can give once or every month to NGOs that share your beliefs and passions. One can also think about planning fundraising activities or campaigns in their neighborhood or place of business to gather money for particular initiatives or urgent relief needs.
3. Partnerships and Collaborations
If you represent a company, group, or foundation, think about collaborating with NGOs to support their programs. Financial contributions, in-kind donations, or the sharing of resources and skills are all examples of collaborations. NGOs frequently look for partnerships to increase their influence and better handle difficult issues.
The world has witnessed numerous inspiring success stories of NGOs. A lot of non-profit organizations have positively transformed the world. Here are a few of the remarkable success stories of NGOs:
1) Room To Read
Roshanara was a 15-year-old girl in Delhi, India, keen to pursue her education. But under family pressure, she almost had to stop going to school and get married off right away. Roshanara could fight for her freedom and her future since she was a participant in Room To Read’s Girls’ Education Program. Her Room to Read mentor stood by her side while she persuaded her parents to dissolve the marriage and permit her to continue her studies. Roshanara, who is 19 years old, is currently enrolled in Jamila Milia Islamia University’s B.A. program and is employed part-time in a medical facility.
2) Partners in Health
Partner in Health’s story became viral when a young child named Uwera received timely treatment for the illness that had claimed the life of her mother. The fact that Uwera is doing well is evidence of PIH’s dedication to offering the most vulnerable patients high-quality medical care.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are a powerful force for positive change, tackling some of humanity’s most serious problems with unwavering commitment and creativity. Leading NGOs have made a lasting impact on people’s lives and communities all around the world through their work to fight poverty, advance education and gender equality, and safeguard the environment.
These non-profit organizations serve as excellent examples of how human values and collective effort may work together to improve the world for all. They have demonstrated that it is possible to overcome challenges, empower the oppressed, and promote sustainable development if one has vision, determination, and dedication to justice.
NGOs have adapted to the changing needs of our world by embracing technology, data-driven decision-making, and collaborative collaborations. They have mobilized people and groups via the power of advocacy, voluntarism, and generosity, igniting a global movement for beneficial social change. In this article, you learn about the list of top NGOs in the world. One gets the motivation to become a better person by looking at their work. The world would become a beautiful place if everyone believed that positive change is not only possible but also essential for the well-being of our shared humanity.
Who Is the Biggest NGO in the World?
BRAC is the biggest NGO in the world with approximately 107,259 employees and an annual income of about US$ 1.08 billion.
Who Are International NGOs Most Accountable To?
International NGOs are most answerable to the communities and beneficiaries they serve, as well as their donors, supporters, and regulatory bodies in their areas of operation